Careers and Internships for Political Science

Political Science Jobs

Recent graduates of Penn State Behrend’s Political Science program are employed at the following: Toyota Motors, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania General Assembly, Central Intelligence Agency, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Navy JAG Corps, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. State Department, and NASA. Many graduates have obtained positions in private law firms and public high schools.

Graduates have also continued their education at a number of graduate and law schools such as Cornell University, John Hopkins University, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, The George Washington University, The University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University.

Student Internships

Please read Internship Programs and Policies for information on how to find internships and how to obtain academic credit.

Political or government internships are recommended for all political science majors. Penn State Behrend students have a wide variety of internship opportunities due to the large number of political and government offices located in Erie. Internships can be obtained for academic credit or just for the experience - students are responsible for contacting political or government offices to set up the internships.

Recent political science students have interned in the following offices:

  • Erie office of Senator Bob Casey
  • Office of State Representative Flo Fabrizio
  • Governor's Northwest Regional Office
  • State Attorney General's Office Bureau of Consumer Protection in Erie
  • Erie County Department of Health
  • Erie City Police
  • Office of Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott
  • Erie County District Attorney's Office

Career Planning

The Academic and Career Planning Center (ACPC) assists students with career and life planning. You may schedule appointments with the ACPC staff to discuss career interests, skills, values, and goal setting, as well as how to find career information, internships, full-time jobs, and graduate schools. Students are encouraged to utilize the services of the ACPC.

Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Careers of Penn State Behrend Political Science Alumni (as of September 2013)

There are 402 POLSC alumni since the first major graduated in 1977. We were able to determine the current jobs of 316 (79%) of those alumni.
Of those 316 alumni, the most common career paths are:

Business professionals             (n=74, 23%)
Law                                        (n=73, 23%)
Government service                (n=57, 18%,)
Education                                (n=47, 15%)
Politics and policy                   (n=20, 6%)
Health care                              (n=9, 3%)
Non-profit administration        (n=7, 2%)
Entertainment industry            (n=4, 1%)

Note that eight government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields.

Recent Alumni

To measure any differences between our more recent alumni and those who are older, we looked at alumni who graduated between 2001-2010. 151 Behrend POLSC majors graduated during that period, and we were able to determine current jobs for 120 (79%) of those. Among those 120 alumni, the most common career paths are:

Law                                         (n=30, 25%)
Business professionals             (n=24, 20%)
Government service                (n=21, 18%)
Education                                (n=21, 18%)
Politics and policy                   (n=10, 8%)
Non-profit administration        (n=3, 3%)
Health Care                             (n=3, 3%)

Note that four government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields.


Among the 73 alumni who work in the legal field are:

53 attorneys
10 in law school or who just finished this year
8 paralegals or legal assistants
2 in graduate school to become paralegals

Some of the attorneys are partners in large law firms, some of our alumni have opened up their own law firms, some work for the government, and some work as corporate counsels.

The government attorneys work for:

US Customs and Border Protection
New York City Department of Education
US Department of Labor
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Erie County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
Potter County District Attorney (our alumnus is the elected district attorney)
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Federal Bureau of Prisons

Some of the corporate counsels work for:

Dick's Sporting Goods
Consol Energy
Gateway Health Plan

Business Professions

Among the 74 alumni who work as business professionals, 10 work in insurance, 8 work in banking, 7 work in finance, 6 work in marketing, 4 are sales administrators, 3 are human resources executives, and 9 run their own small or medium-sized businesses, with the rest in a variety of business professional careers. Four business professionals do policy or government research:

Research Associate, Mohr Partners (real estate firm, economic and urban development research)
Strategy & Operations Consultant, Federal Practice, Deloitte
Associate Director for International Trade Policy, Toyota Motor North America
Government Relations Specialist, Erie Insurance

Other business professionals hold the following positions:

Senior Financial Analyst, Southeast Toyota
Commercial Underwriter, Erie Insurance
Vice President of Human Resources - International, Kinetic Concepts
Program Manager, Raytheon

Government Service

Among the 57 alumni who work in government service:

21 work for federal government agencies
14 work for state government agencies
13 work for local government agencies
8 are career military, including at least 5 military officers
1 works for an international government agency

Among those working for the government are 9 who work as law enforcement officers at the local, state, or federal level.  8 alumni work as government attorneys.

One alumnus is the elected District Attorney for Potter County, Pennsylvania

Federal government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

CIA agent
US State Department officer
Senior Inspector, US Marshals Service
US Capitol Police officer
Senior Case Technician, Social Security Administration
Revenue Officer, Internal Revenue Service
Program Analyst, US Department of Justice
Supervisor and Program Analyst, US Department of Veterans Affairs
Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, US Department of Defense
Senior Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Federal Project Officer, US Department of Labor
US Border Patrol agent
Community Planning and Development Representative, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

State government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

Pennsylvania State Police trooper
Deputy Director for Community Development, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
Connecticut State Library librarian
Policy Analyst, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
Project Manager, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives

Local government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

Human Relations Commissioner, City of Durham, NC
Caseworker, Erie County Office of Children and Youth
Police Officer, Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department

One alumnus works for an international government agency as:

Public Expenditure Management Advisor, Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance

Those with military careers are serving in the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Coast Guard, and US Marines.


Among the 47 alumni who work in education are:

11 social studies teachers
6 who work as teachers in other fields in elementary or high schools
2 school administrators (principal and vice principal)
2 university professors
2 university instructors
5 who are pursing graduate degrees in order to teach at the university level (3 PhD students)
16 college or university administrators
2 who are pursuing graduate degrees in university administration
1 administrator of a private educational institution

Positions held by our alumni in education include:

Social Studies teacher, Millcreek School District
Social Studies teacher, Iroquois School District
Social Studies teacher, Erie School District
Program Director, Jefferson Educational Society
Professor of Public Administration, Florida State University
Teacher in Teach for America
Social Studies teacher in suburban Rochester, NY
Social Studies teacher in suburban Chicago
Social Studies teacher in suburban Philadelphia
Associate Director of Safety, University of Notre Dame
Student Affairs Officer, UCLA
Social Studies teacher, Perseus House
Academic and Career Counselor, Mercyhurst University
Social Studies teacher in Baltimore, MD
Associate Director of Student Affairs, Penn State Behrend
Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Penn State Behrend

Politics and Policy

Of the 20 alumni with careers in politics and policy, 8 are currently graduate students in policy fields, while the other 12 work in a variety of jobs that involve politics or policy.

Among the positions of our alumni in politics and policy are:

Senior Account Executive, Edelman (public relations and political consultants)
Political Director at Unite Here (union), Local 25, in Washington DC
Senior Advisor, Strategic Studies CNA Analysis & Solutions (military think tank)
Staff Writer, Ballotpedia
Contributions Coordinator, Council for a Livable World
Managing Editor, Geospatial Intelligence Review
Political Consultant, Meridian Strategies
Deputy IT Director, New Partners (political consultants)
Director, Business Intelligence, The Advisory Board Company (health care research consultants)
Journalist, The Investigative Project on Terrorism
Program Assistant, Center for Economic & Policy Research

Other Career Areas

Our remaining alumni work in a variety of fields, with health care, entertainment, and non-profit administration among the most numerous careers. Jobs held by some of our alumni in these other fields include:

Senior Games Manager, Marvel Entertainment
Arts and Culture Reporter, KPBS, San Diego
Grantwriter Consultant, Grants Plus
Roving Infield Instructor, Houston Astros
Executive Director, Neighborhood Learning Alliance in Pittsburgh
Senior Investigator, US Investigations Service in Pittsburgh
Executive Vice President for International Distribution, Dick Clark Productions
Registered Nurse, Carolinas Medical Center
Family Consultant and Case Planner, KidsPeace in Buffalo, NY

Graduate and Law Schools

Among the law schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

Cornell University
Syracuse University
Duquesne University
University of Pittsburgh
The George Washington University
University of Maryland
Case Western Reserve University
Michigan State University
The Ohio State University
Vermont Law School
University of Michigan
Thomas M Cooley Law School
Ave Maria School of Law
Widener University
Cleveland Marshall College of Law
Penn State Dickinson School of Law
University of Buffalo
Willamette University
Ohio Northern University
Catholic University of Washington DC
Boston College

Among the graduate schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

University of Pennsylvania
The Johns Hopkins University
University of Buffalo
The George Washington University
Georgetown University
Louisiana State University
Fudan University (Shanghai, China)
University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada)
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland)
University of Delaware
Cleveland State University
University of Akron
Mercyhurst University
Penn State Harrisburg
University of South Carolina
Edinboro University
Oregon State University
University of Connecticut
University of Pittsburgh
Pepperdine University
University of Leeds, England